Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Gym-Free and Ripped

I was given the opportunity to read Gym-Free and Ripped by Nathan Jendrick.  After this post at The Fitness Dish about gym ettiquite, I'm glad that I read it!

The author, a trainer named Nathan Jendrick, is married to an Olympic swimming champ Megan Jendrick.  I totally know what it's like having a significant other root for me and try to train me, so I find the relationship cute.  The premise of the book is that you don't need to go to a gym to get "ripped" and that exercise and genetics really contribute only 10-20% to what you ultimately look like.  Food is the other 80%.  (Does that mean I look like a muffin, then?)

Therefore, the book mostly focuses on strength training, stretching, and a little cardio.  Given that I am training for a marathon, I could not fully adhere to this sort of proportion, but I could see the point behind it.

The book is broken up into an explanation of why and how to eat healthfully, the moves, training plans, stretching, supplements, and recipes

I found the part about food kind of preachy, but I think that's because I am a little sad that the things he says are true.  Not like anything was new to me, but it's SO hard to eat differently from your friends (as he says), etc. etc.  But I figure any improvement in my eating habits will help.  If I had to complain about anything else in the book, it would be that it seems like it's written for dudes... I mean, I don't think many girls could pull off some of the moves in there -- handstands! one-legged squats/push-ups! -- and the only model in there is male.  But... I can try!

There are great photos of every move in the sample training program, which takes you through a few weeks of training 4 days a week.  You can modify the plans according to the book, but I followed this 4-day thing for a couple of weeks.  Day 1 is Chest, Day 2 is Back and Core, Day 3 is Legs, and Day 4 is Shoulders and Arms. 

Even though I'm used to using weight machines in the gym for 20 minutes a day, these workouts not only cut my strength training time, they also made me sore almost every day.  By just doing 3 sets of incline pushups and 3 sets of decline pushups, I found myself sore (and this is after I've tried the 100 Push-Ups Program!)Over these past few weeks, I have felt more muscle tone, and having done that spending less time on strength training than I had been is a plus! 

I'm not quite "ripped" yet, but I did notice that I have gone back to my normal weight range since reading this book, probably due to better food choices.  Of course, I learned that "The Ukrainian"'s scale had collected some dust and was since cleaned, perhaps explaining the extra weight I thought I had put on.

Since I got this book, I have not touched a weight machine in the gym and feel pretty confident that I could stay fit even if I didn't have a gym.   In the meantime, I know that I can do these moves if I am on the go, and it's motivating to carry around a book with chiseled abs on the cover!


  1. The only thing I ever do at the gym is run on the treadmill. The only weights I lift are two kids at home -- I could probably work on that!

  2. Just got your comment on my blog. Train slow - race fast. Just don't forget to increase your cadence. You'll do great!

  3. I like the premise of the book....for years I was sure that the gym was the only way. But since p90x and learning the value of the pushup, pullup, and eating right, I've totally converted to working out at home.